The effects of hot and cold temperatures on emergency hospital admissions in Brisbane, Australia

Ye, Xiaofang (2013) The effects of hot and cold temperatures on emergency hospital admissions in Brisbane, Australia. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


As Earth's climate is rapidly changing, the impact of ambient temperature on health outcomes has attracted increasing attention in the recent time. Considerable number of excess deaths has been reported because of exposure to ambient hot and cold temperatures. However, relatively little research has been conducted on the relation between temperature and morbidity. The aim of this study was to characterize the relationship between both hot and cold temperatures and emergency hospital admissions in Brisbane, Australia, and to examine whether the relation varied by age and socioeconomic factors. It aimed to explore lag structures of temperature–morbidity association for respiratory causes, and to estimate the magnitude of emergency hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases attributable to hot and cold temperatures for the large contribution of both diseases to the total emergency hospital admissions. A time series study design was applied using routinely collected data of daily emergency hospital admissions, weather and air pollution variables in Brisbane during 1996–2005. Poisson regression model with a distributed lag non-linear structure was adopted to assess the impact of temperature on emergency hospital admissions after adjustment for confounding factors. Both hot and cold effects were found, with higher risk of hot temperatures than that of cold temperatures. Increases in mean temperature above 24.2oC were associated with increased morbidity, especially for the elderly ≥ 75 years old with the largest effect. The magnitude of the risk estimates of hot temperature varied by age and socioeconomic factors. High population density, low household income, and unemployment appeared to modify the temperature–morbidity relation. There were different lag structures for hot and cold temperatures, with the acute hot effect within 3 days after hot exposure and about 2-week lagged cold effect on respiratory diseases. A strong harvesting effect after 3 days was evident for respiratory diseases. People suffering from cardiovascular diseases were found to be more vulnerable to hot temperatures than cold temperatures. However, more patients admitted for cardiovascular diseases were attributable to cold temperatures in Brisbane compared with hot temperatures. This study contributes to the knowledge base about the association between temperature and morbidity. It is vitally important in the context of ongoing climate change. The findings of this study may provide useful information for the development and implementation of public health policy and strategic initiatives designed to reduce and prevent the burden of disease due to the impact of climate change.

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ID Code: 63667
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Tong, Shilu, Mengersen, Kerrie, Pan, Xiaochuan, & Wolff, Rodney
Keywords: age, attributable risk, cardiovascular diseases, climate change, cold effect, distributed lag non-linear model, emergency hospital admission, generalized linear model, hot effect, lag structure, morbidity, socioeconomic status, respiratory diseases, temperature, CEDM
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 23 Oct 2013 05:32
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2015 02:42

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